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Monthly Archives: October 2012

CHRISTMAS CURD

with flavours of Cranberry and orange withe fruit cooked in Grenadine syrup and then transformed into a lovely creamy buttery spread! You can also use this as a layer in sponge cakes, in buttercream for cupcakes, on ice cream , so many different ways..

Jumbleberry ( or Fruit ) Curd

300g fruit— for jumble berry use mixed berries ….150ml water or juice, in case of the cranberry i tried Bols Grenadine syrup..( used for cocktails)

Gently cook fruit in water till soft. Press through a sieve and collect the juice and scrape off the thicker mush under the sieve. Discard the pressed berries still in the sieve.If the collected juice is too thick add just a little more liquid.

Now in a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a pan of hot water on a medium heat on the hob, ,put the juice in the bowl with the 300grams sugar..4 beaten eggs and 250g butter.

Keep stirring until the mixture thickens the back of your stirring spoon, this can take up to 20 mins..do’nt walk away..stay with it and keep stirring, you dont want scrambled eggs..Remember this should and will thicken as the butter will set when cool and the eggs will thicken it..You should be able to tell when it is thick enough and remove from the heat.

When it is thick and ready, I sometimes put a little alcoholic liquer into the mix before potting, not too much as you dont want to thin down the mix too much.

Pot in a clean warm sterilised jar and put clean lid on. When cool store in the fridge.

I love making curds and playing with the ingredients. Such a useful recipe for cake making or adding into buttercream icings , or on ice cream etc etc..ENJOY

Will keep for 4 weeks unopened in fridge..use within one week of opening..

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Almond and Spiced Apple Frangipane

This is a lovely Tart..I came up with this combination trying to find some Christmassy flavours without relying on the usual mincemeat! Not everybody’s favourite, but neither is almond, but we happen to love it.This is real almond overload and very rich, be warned you only need a small slice!

Almond & Spiced Apple Frangipane Tart

You will need a 9inch loose bottom tart tin

Line with shortcrust/sweet pastry and blind bake for about 10 mins…

remove from oven and let cool..roll out a thin circle of marzipan .. and lay in the bottom of the tart..

on top of the marzipan sprinkle some crushed crispy amaretti biscuits..about 6 or so..

Finely chop 1 dessert …I used a granny smith.. mix with about a handful of raisins or sultanas..a quarter teaspoon of vanilla paste or extract, half a teaspoon of mixed spice ( apple pie spice ?? ) and some amaretti liquer (almond flavoured liquer) about 1 tablespoon, then add about half a small jar (270g) of apple sauce and combine the ingredients.. Pour onto the tart over the marzipan amaretti layer..

For the Frangipane mixture

you will need 125g butter,125g caster sugar(superfine?) 125g ground almonds, 2 beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon Plain Flour, a few drops almond essence.

Cream all the ingredients together like a cake batter.

Spread over the apple mixture…sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Put tart on a baking tray, as its a loose bottom tin, makes for easy removal from the oven..

Bake for about 30 mins or so , till the Frangipane is set and golden .

When cool remove from tin..serve sprinkled with icing sugar.

Gas mark 4 – 350 – 180 c

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

What can be nicer, or even better for you than making a big pot of homemade soup. Shop bought cannot just compare with home made. A few veggies go a long way ,and its so heavenly and comforting on cold miserable days to dig into a bowl of tasty heaven!!

Butternut squash and leek soup

1 small to medium Butternut squash, peeled deseeded and cut into chunks

3 cloves garlic

4 small leeks or 2 large ..prepared and cut into slices

1 carrot peeled and sliced

2 tomatoes quartered.

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs thyme

mixed herbs of your choice.

marsala wine or sherry.

chicken stock…fresh or cubes..about 3 pints in total.you may need to adjust depending on quantity of veg you end up with.

salt and pepper

To finish, mascarpone (or creme fraiche ) cheese mixed with unsweetned chestnut puree and fried cubed pancettta OR bacon

2 tablespoon olive oil..fry off all veg and garlic till onions soft and veg is slightly coloured.

Add bay leaves and herbs, chicken stock and simmer till all soft.

Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs..whizz in a blender or with a stick blender.

Add wine,sherry if liked, but purely optional.

Season to taste.

For serving add a spoonful of mascarpone/chestnut puree and sprinkle with the pancetta

Nutty Tart…

This is a recipe devised by myself to include some hazelnuts and Nutella, My son is a Nutella fiend!! It came out really well..Please read note about the Speculoos spread ( european ) as more Nutella can be used or a mix of spreads..something that you can buy locally or grind up some nice biscuits and add those…

Nutty Tart

You will need 1 pastry case part baked blind..(short crust Pastry) i.e pastry put in tart tin ,pricked, covered in baking paper and ceramic beans used to weigh down. bake for 10 mins and then remove baking beans/beads.

Mix 1 small tub of creme fraiche with 2 beaten eggs, 2 tablespoon of Nutella and 2 tablespoons of Speculoos.

No extra sugar needed as the two spreads are very sweet

Speculoos is a brand of spread..made from caramelised biscuits/cookies..If this is unobtainable use extra nutella or maybe another spread, or crush some biscuits and add to the mix.

Have ready some toasted chopped hazelnuts ( about 4 handfuls of hazelnuts and 1 handful almonds,) and slivered almonds, just dry fry in a pan for a few seconds

tip into a bowl and drizzle with maple syrup..reserve to one side.

Pour the creme fraiche/spread custard into the pastry tart and bake in a gentle oven until just set, then sprinkle the nut mixture over the top, add some chocolate chips also and then put back into the oven for another 10 minutes..

Remove from oven and let cool.Drizzle with a litlle extra Maple syrup.

Nice served with a portion of creme fraiche

Mini Fig and Orange cointreau Tartlets

Mini Creamy tartlets topped with fig..best made as individual tarts or mini ones. Absolutely perfect for dessert or on the buffet or Party table.. These were such a hit here, with instructions to make again!!!

Mini Fig and Orange /cointreau /ginger tarts

You will need some shortcrust sweet pastry either home made or shop bought and roll out and make some mini pastry tart cases, bake blind till cooked through and let cool down.About 12..

For the creme filling, you will need one small tub of mascarpone 250g ….mix one and a half tablespoon marmalade,and some finely chopped glace orange, or glace peel, mix together until the mascarpone thickens you may need a touch of sugar to sweeten..personal preference here.

6 fresh figs quartered. about 4 tablespoons of cointreau..about 6 of orange juice. Add some sliced stem ginger in syrup, about 1 piece and some syrup from the jar. cook all gently, just for a few minutes as you want the figs to hold their shape, not collapse. remove figs from juice and let cool. Heat the remaining juice in pan until it thickens,,then let cool.

When ready put the orange mascarpone mix into the pastry shells, arrange some figs ,2 pieces on each top and drizzle the syrup on.

To decorate I used apricot fruit leather cut into circles and flaked almonds..but use whatever you have to hand to complement the flavours..

Melting Chocolate Fondants


My Goodness Me…if you love good ,dark chocolate then these are a absolute delight..My Son has been promising to make these for such a long time! Well ,we finally got them and they were worth the wait. Such a puddle of chocolatey ,heavenly goodness just oozes out when you cut into them..These are great for get ahead of yourself cooking, perfect for that special meal or Dinner party, how impressive!! I’m even thinking how lovely would these be for Christmas Day, with a special centre!! Awesome!!

Melting chocolate fondants

90g softened unsalted butter ..and a little extra for grepreheat oven to asing the moulds

90g dark chocolate finely chopped at least 70% cocoa

2 medium eggs

2 medium egg yolks

120g caster sugar

45g sieved Plain flour

cocoa powder or flour to coat the inside of the moulds after buttering

preheat oven to 180oC/gas mark 4

Butter and flour the inside of the moulds, we used dariole moulds.

melt the chocolate very gently in a bowl over a pan of hot water.Add the butter and stir until thoroughly mixed

In a seperate bowl,whisk the eggs,egg yolks and sugar until evenly combined together.Add the chocolate mix and then gently fold in the flour.CHILL in fridge for 20 minutes

remove mixture from fridge and then spoon the mix into your moulds, about two thirds of the way up..CHILL again in the fridge for at least an hour ..they will keep for up to 6 hours or more.

A great dish for a party or special dinner, to get ahead …

To bake the fondants place them on a tray in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes.Let them rest for two minutes before unmoulding them carefully onto your serving plate.

Serve warm ,good with ice cream.